Question NW1750 to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

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07 August 2018 - NW1750

Profile picture: Bozzoli, Dr B

Bozzoli, Dr B to ask the Minister of Higher Education and Training

(a) What is the total number of (i) universities and (ii) technical vocational education and training colleges have (aa) experienced disruptions and damage of any sort and/or (bb) had to close as a result of student protests in 2018, (b) what is the name of each institution that was affected, (c) on what date(s) did the disruption(s) take place, (d) what was the (i) extent and type of disruption and (ii) damage caused during the disruption, (e) what were the reasons for the disruptions and (f) what has his department done to resolve the situation in each case?

Reply:

a) (i) (aa) 13 Universities experienced disruptions and/or damages in some cases.

(ii) (aa) 11 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges experienced disruptions or damages in some cases.

(bb) No TVET colleges were closed as a result of disruptions in 2018. However, the Mafikeng Campus of Vuselela TVET College was closed on 23 April 2018. Normal operations at the Carletonville Campus of Westcol TVET College was disrupted from 21 May 2018 to 18 June 2018.

Seven Universities closed as a result of protests, i.e. Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Sefako Makgatho University (SMU), Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), University of Zululand (UNIZULU), Walter Sisulu University (WSU), Durban University of Technology (DUT) and Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

b) The following TVET colleges were affected by disruptions:

  • Buffalo City TVET College;
  • Central Johannesburg TVET College;
  • Ehlanzeni TVET College;
  • King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College;
  • Maluti TVET College;
  • Mthashana TVET College;
  • Port Elizabeth TVET College;
  • Tshwane North TVET College;
  • Vhembe TVET College;
  • Vuselela TVET College; and
  • Westcol TVET College.

The table below responds to questions (b) to (f) regarding the universities that were affected by disruptions, dates and the extent of the damage caused during the disruptions, reasons for the disruptions and intervention by the Department to resolve the situation.

(b) Institution

(c) and (d) (i) and (ii) Dates of protests and/or extent of damages

(d) Reasons for disruption

(f) Intervention by the Department

1. Nelson Mandela University

2 - 4 May 2018: Students blocked the main entrances at the PE campus. The academic programme was interrupted, and staff members were unable to reach their workstations, and as a result, registration slowed down.

Delays in receiving confirmations of NSFAS funding for both first-time entering and senior students.

None.

2. Durban University of Technology

05 January -
27 February 2018: Employees were on strike. The registration process was disrupted and delayed.

Salary negotiations.

The Deputy Minister facilitated negotiations between unions and management. An agreement was reached, and employees returned to work.

 

27 - 29 March 2018: Student protest.

No severe damage to property.

Classes were suspended at Durban campus from 28 March - 3 April 2018.

Delays in payment of allowances. This was an IT- related problem between the University and NSFAS systems.

Facilitated engagement with NSFAS.

3. . University of KwaZulu-Natal

20 - 23 March 2018: Student protest.

Classes were disrupted, buildings set alight and vandalised.

Delays in payment of allowances, accommodation issues, academic exclusions and examination dates.

None.

4. University of Mpumalanga

Mbombela Campus

15 - 16 January 2018 and 12 - 16 March 2018:

No damage to property.

The registration of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) students was briefly affected.

The Campus Representative Council (CRC) mobilised the WIL students against paying the R150 refundable deposit fee for their stay on campus during their WIL registration and orientation week.

There was a delay in paying the
off-campus accommodation providers due to the non-submission of required documentation for university payments to be made.

None.

 

Siyabuswa Campus

12 - 23 February 2018 and 14 March 2018: No material damage to property.

Delays in payment of book allowances and study guides

Students demanded Wi-Fi connectivity in the residences.

Concerns were raised regarding the prices of meals from the catering service provider. Students demanded that there should be no increase in the price of food offered by the caterer. The students complained that the maintenance of the campus and residences are not regularly carried out.

 

5. Mangosuthu University of Technology

14 February 2018 -
9 March 2018: A dining hall and canteen were looted, and a lecture hall was petrol bombed.

Delays in the disbursement of allowances linked to a new service provider on campus as well as a shortage of transportation for students.

None.

6. Central University of Technology

12 - 13 April 2018 and
7 - 11 May 2018: 18 Security cameras destroyed; 2 DVRs used to record the video feed were damaged; one gate motor destroyed and cars damaged.

Delayed payment of NSFAS allowances, operating hours of the Library and the cafeteria on campus, lack of sports facilities and appointment of a new security company at the Welkom campus.

None.

7. University of Zululand

16 February 2018 and
1 March 2018: Two police vehicles and a bookshop were burnt, and a canteen/dining hall on campus was looted.

NSFAS allowances not paid timeously. The students submitted a memorandum to the management demanding that the progression and auto promotion rules should be scrapped and students excluded in terms of the rules be allowed to register,

Students did not accept the transactional cost of R30 charged by the service provider (Fundi) for payment of allowances.

The Department engaged with the university on a daily basis in an attempt to find a solution. The Vice-Chancellor submitted daily reports to the Department.

8. Walter Sisulu University

22 February 2018 and
16 March 2018: Students protests at Buffalo, Zamukulungisa and Butterworth Campuses were closed.

2 - 26 June 2018: Staff protest organised by NEHAWU and NTEU.

Buffalo City Campus was closed. Some staff members at the Butterworth campus went on strike

The protest was triggered by the challenges relating to the allocation of residence spaces using the university’s new online system, maintenance of residences and the accreditation of civil engineering programme which was about to be withdrawn by the Engineering Council South Africa (ECSA).

Students also demanded that students that had been academically excluded should be allowed to register. Students demanded that those who had been financially excluded should be allowed to register without paying any amount towards their debt. The university required them to pay 15% towards their debt before registering.

Salary negotiations deadlocked and an agreement was reached on
26 June 2018.

The Department sent officials to WSU to be part of the meetings that were held between the SRC and Institutional Executive Committee over three days. At the end of the third day, the parties reached an agreement on certain issues, and the campuses were reopened on
19 March 2018.

The Department was in contact with the university on a daily basis and received daily reports from the Vice Chancellor.

Before the strike action, the Director-General and Departmental officials met with the two unions. The university management updated the Department regularly.

9. University of the Free State (Qwaqwa campus)

7 May 2018: Damage to the entrance gate and the cafeteria vandalised.

51 Students were not cleared for registration. The university allowed students who do not qualify for NSFAS funding or who indicated that they do not have sufficient funds to register, while committing to pay their first required payments by 31 March 2018. In addition, the University has set up an appeals committee to consider students who are unable to honour their first payment but are academically deserving (using the same criteria as NSFAS, i.e. passed at least 50% of course. In all cases, they were allowed to continue their studies despite not having funds. In many cases, the university also provided funding or managed to secure funding from external donors (approximately R150 million) and assisted final year students. 51 Students at the Qwaqwa Campus could not be accommodated through this process.

None. This was not reported to the Department at the time.

10. University of Venda

1 - 14 March 2018: Disruption of classes at UNIVEN. Classes of the two local schools near the university were disrupted. Streets were barricaded with rubble and burning tyres

Delayed disbursement of NSFAS allowances and the decentralisation of NSFAS. Students demanded that residences under construction should be completed to address the continued shortages of accommodation.

None

11. University of Fort Hare

Until 26 February 2018:

Students boycotted classes at the beginning of the year.

Shortage of student accommodation.

None

 

7 June 2018 and still unresolved as at
18 July 2018. Workers strike relating to wage negotiations. Examinations were disrupted and deferred to the end of July 2018.

On 17 July 2018, the strike was joined by the students preventing other students from entering the examination hall.

Deadlock on wage negotiations in which the workers’ demands include:

  • Insourcing of outsourced services;
  • Ineffective university council;
  • Lack of transparency and communication on matters affecting university stakeholders such as unions;
  • Serous flouting of HR policies; and
  • Allegations of the selling of Master and PhD degrees.

The Department received a memorandum from the unions requesting intervention to resolve the protracted strike. The memorandum is being responded to.

12. University of South Africa

Pretoria Campus
14 - 16 February 2018:

Registration disrupted.

Pietermaritzburg Campus 17 - 24 January 2018: Registration disrupted.

Late payment of NSFAS allowances.

Wage negotiations

None.

13. Tshwane University of Technology

29 January 2018 and
8 February 2018:

Soshanguve Campus
closed.

Four residences were still under renovation, and as a result, a number of first-year students could not be allocated accommodation. Students demanded that the affected students should be provided with alternative accommodation.

None

It should be noted that the Department monitors the stability of the sector during the registration period by requesting regular reports from institutions. However, in the majority of cases, the oversight role of the Department does not extend to intervention, unless there is a specific request from an institution, or unless the Department decides that a fact-finding visit is necessary. The Department is usually informed of the disruption and monitors the situation, engaging with the Vice Chancellor where necessary. In cases where disruptions were linked to NSFAS issues, the Department engaged with NSFAS, students and institutions to assist in resolving the challenge. Major challenges experienced relate to the system integration between NSFAS and institutions, which has had a significant impact on the exchange of registration data. The focus has been to ensure that students who qualify receive allowances and that the agreements are generated and signed.

c) Disruptions at the affected TVET colleges took place on the following dates:

Name of College

Date of Disruption

Buffalo City TVET College

22 March 2018

Central Johannesburg TVET College

11 May 2018 to date

Ehlanzeni TVET College

26 January 2018 - 2 February 2018

King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College

5 – 14 February 2018

Maluti TVET College

12 April 2018 to date

Mthashana TVET College

9 March 2018

Port Elizabeth TVET College

8 May 2018

Tshwane North TVET College

9 May 2018

Vhembe TVET College

12 March 2018

Vuselela TVET College

12 March 2018

Westcol TVET College

21 May 2018 - 18 June 2018

d) (i) The extent and type of disruptions at affected TVET colleges are as follows:

Name of College

Extent of Disruption

Type of Disruption

Buffalo City TVET College

Minor

Student protest and march.

Central Johannesburg TVET College

Major

Blockage of Alexandra Campus entrance and barricading of the main public road through the burning of tyres, interruption of lectures, intimidation of staff and students and violence.

Ehlanzeni TVET College

Minor

Student protest and march.

King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College

Medium

Student protest, march and interruption of lectures.

Maluti TVET College

Major

Student protest, march, interruption of lectures, attempted interruption of examinations, disruption of one examination session, intimidation of staff and students and violence.

Mthashana TVET College

Minor

Sit-in and disruption of examinations.

Port Elizabeth TVET College

Minor

Student protest and march.

Tshwane North TVET College

Medium

Forceful and unlawful occupation of student residence at the Soshanguve North Campus.

Vhembe TVET College

Minor

Student protests, march at Makwarela Campus and intimidation of students at other campuses.

Vuselela TVET College

Minor

Disruption of lectures and protests.

Westcol TVET College

Major

Interruption of lectures, blockading entrances, intimidation of staff and students, and interruption of the registration process.

(ii) The extent of damage caused during disruptions at TVET colleges are as follows:

Name of College

Extent of Damage

Buffalo City TVET College

No damaged caused.

Central Johannesburg TVET College

A section of the Student Support Services building was burned down at the Central Office in Parktown.

Ehlanzeni TVET College

No damage caused.

King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College

Two prefabricated structures and a vehicle belonging to Libode Campus were burnt. Some windows were broken. Damages to gates and some sections of the buildings.

Maluti TVET College

Eight offices at the Central Office, two college buses and three vehicles were burnt down.

Mthashana TVET College

No damage caused.

Port Elizabeth TVET College

No damage caused.

Tshwane North TVET College

Burning of tyres to barricade the road leading to the entrance of Soshanguve North Campus. A lecturer was assaulted.

Vhembe TVET College

No damage caused.

Vuselela TVET College

No damage caused.

Westcol TVET College

No damage caused.

e) Reasons for disruptions at TVET colleges are as follows:

Name of College

Reasons for Disruptions

Buffalo City TVET College

Lack of maintenance of infrastructure, shortage of textbooks, lack of personal protective equipment, lack of Wi-Fi, lack of student accommodation, non-payment and/or delays in payment of NSFAS allowances and the legitimacy of the Student Representative Council being challenged.

Central Johannesburg TVET College

Inadequate infrastructure, non-payment and/or delays in the payment of NSFAS allowances, human resources and labour relation challenges, allegations of mismanagement, corruption, racism and abuse by some members of management and staff.

Ehlanzeni TVET College

Limited space to admit more students.

King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College

Delays in the issuing of certificates and diplomas, inadequate placement of students for Work Integrated Learning, poor maintenance of ablution facilities, complaints regarding the Campus Manager of Libode Campus, discrepancies in the allocation of rooms in campus residences and non-receipt of students allowances.

Maluti TVET College

Demand for the building of hostels for the college, the safety of students and staff at the College, non-payment of travel and accommodation allowance for students, the amendment to the SRC Constitution and removal of the College Principal.

Mthashana TVET College

NSFAS allowances for 2016 and 2017 not being received by students.

Port Elizabeth TVET College

Non-receipt of travel and accommodation allowances.

Tshwane North TVET College

Illegal occupation of college hostels.

Vhembe TVET College

Free education for all, upfront registration payment to be refunded to all who qualify for free education, non-receipt of NSFAS allowances for 2018, bursary allowances to be paid to all qualifying students as from 2015, the erection of speed humps on all roads within the college, installation of CCTV cameras, access to Wi-Fi, construction of permanent buildings to be used as classes, the allocation of personal protective equipment to students who require them, maintenance of machinery in simulation rooms and removal of a campus coordinator.

Vuselela TVET College

Non-receipt of NSFAS allowances for 2018.

Westcol TVET College

Non-receipt of NSFAS allowances, the lack of operating and fully equipped simulation rooms, poor registration processes, no graduation ceremonies, disregard of student bodies by the Council, demands for free education, the appointment of senior lecturers for NATED, shortage of textbooks, certification backlogs and lack of student activities.

f) Actions which the department took to resolve disruptions:

Name of College

Actions Taken by the Department

Buffalo City TVET College

On 22 March 2018, officials from the Department met with the SRC and management of the college and resolved all issues. The following resolutions were taken at this meeting:

  • The college has started working on the minor maintenance of the hostels.
  • The Council approved the utilisation of R2.4 million rand as a temporary loan to cover accommodation for qualifying students. This should be paid back once the college has claimed its allocation from NSFAS.

No further disruptions have been reported following this engagement.

Central Johannesburg TVET College

The Director-General has led two delegations to the college and furthermore met with the staff, management and Council on 15 June 2018 and 18 June 2018. In the meeting of 18 June 2018, it was resolved that the Department and Council would institute a forensic investigation into matters raised.

Ehlanzeni TVET College

The office of the Acting Deputy Director-General: Technical and Vocational Education and Training requested the Acting Regional Manager of the North West-Mpumalanga Regional Office to intervene at the college and address issues. The Acting Regional Manager visited the college and addressed the matters. No further disruption was reported following this intervention.

King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College

The Department has requested reports from the Principal regarding disruptions. No further disruptions have been reported.

Maluti TVET College

Students came to the Department on 11 May 2018 to raise their concerns. Following this meeting, a delegation from the Department was sent to the college to address issues further. No further disruptions have been reported following this intervention. However, students indicated that there would be no calm at the college as long as the Principal is at the college.

Mthashana TVET College

The office of the Acting Deputy Director-General: Technical and Vocational Education and Training requested the Acting Regional Manager of the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Office to intervene. The Acting Regional Manager has provided a report, which outlines how the matter was addressed. No further disruptions have been reported following this disruption.

Port Elizabeth TVET College

The Principal intervened, and no further unrest have been reported.

Tshwane North TVET College

Officials from the Department engage continuously with the Principal on the situation, and furthermore, meetings with stakeholders are regularly convened to address this matter.

Vhembe TVET College

The office of the Acting Deputy Director-General: Technical and Vocational Education and Training requested the Acting Regional Manager of the Limpopo Regional Office to intervene. The Acting Regional Manager provided a report. No further disruptions have been reported following this intervention.

Vuselela TVET College

The office of the Acting Deputy Director-General: Technical and Vocational Education and Training requested the North West-Mpumalanga Regional Office to intervene. The Acting Regional Manager visited the college and addressed all matters. No further disruption was reported following this intervention.

Westcol TVET College

On 11 June 2018, a delegation from the Department led by the Director-General visited the college to address issues. A follow-up meeting was convened on 18 June 2018.

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